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Search tags: Margaret-Atwood
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review 2017-10-08 02:45
Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

“Don't let the bastards grind you down.” 

 

 

The future fucking sucks. 

 

That's one of the lines from the promotional posters from The Handmaid's Tale on Hulu, and it's a good way to set the tone between the two works. While they both carry the same chilling version of a Dystopian (but still too close to home to be comfortable) future, the series has more of an aggressive tone, more of a willingness to bring it's evils down. The most noticeable of impact of that is June. Or, I should say, Offred. Because in the book, we never really learn Offred's true name, while in the series we receive it on the first episode.

 

They are different, but both of them are amazing interpretations. I recommend fans of the book to watch the show and fans of the show to read the book. I really loved both.

 

Back to our main character, Book Offred is very passive. Almost infuriatingly so, at times, until you remember she is simply a product of the extremely oppressive society that surrounds her. She has barely any fight left on her, because it was dragged away. And she is pale in comparison to other characters in the book, other man and other women, because Offred shows how deep the bleak world can cut someone who is simply normal (tv series Offred is tougher, because otherwise the series would be a little too slow for 10 chapters). 

 

“Better never means better for everyone... It always means worse, for some."

 

The Handmaid's Tale is a bone chilling book, a future where all minorities get permanently crushed under the boots of the ruling ones, but the true horror of the plot doesn't come on what's spoken. It comes on the chill horror of that which we never know. What happened to that one character? Where does the road lead, in the ending? We never know, and that's even more terrifying. Because our minds can take a hint. All we can conjure by our own is scarier than what the author could have told us.

 

This book is very topical. It was topical in 1985, and it's topical now. The true scary beings aren't the ones that are hidden under our beds, it's the very real ones that cross the street in front of us everyday. Not all humans are monsters, but all monsters are human.

 

The biggest character in the book isn't even our narrator. It's the unity. The unity of those that choose to fight against the power that holds them down, with very small gestures, or even bigger gestures. But still, they stand. It cannot end well. But it's better than no action at all.

 

 

“I want everything back, the way it was. But there is no point to it, this wanting.” 

 

 

Sentence: There isn't much I can say that hasn't been said before. But this is an amazing book, it's terrifying in the most subtle way, and it will jump at you when you're least expecting it. When it does... enjoy the ride.

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text 2017-09-26 05:41
Reading progress update: I've read 100 out of 136 pages.
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

I finished this one already but I'm still gathering my thoughts on it. Review soon!

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review 2017-08-12 03:28
[Book Review] The Blind Assassin
The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood,Margaret Atwood

I really wanted to do some Atwood, and while much of what she writes is regular literary fiction, some of it does fit within SF/F, or general Speculative Fiction.  I made a deliberate choice not to do The Handmaid's Tale (instead choosing The Core of the Sun), and I didn't really feel like re-reading Oryx and Crake, or using the second book in the series as a book club pick.  So, I stumbled across The Blind Assassin which teased of a historical fiction with a science fiction story intertwined.  So there we go, a June read.

Yeah, I'm writing the review in August.  It took me a bit to get through this one.

I've come to discover that with most of Atwood's novels the first half tends to slog for me, then somewhere around halfway through they pick up and suddenly become significantly more interesting.  That definitely proved true here, at least for my experience.  The "science fiction story" was less than I was hoping for as well, but an interesting vehicle for part of the narrative.

The Blind Assassin starts with the account of the narrator's sister driving off a bridge, and from there wends its way through the Iris' life growing up, a young woman, and as an old woman telling her story before her days run out.  That story includes the illicit meeting of two lovers, one of whom spins fantastical tales of aliens and future civilizations.

I personally felt it was trying to hard to play to one assumption while very clearly being something else all along, and would have liked to have been a little more surprised.  I have to say, while I admire Atwood's literary skill, and am a big fan of some of her work, for the most part I find that Sheri S. Tepper better provides what I'm looking for.

Discussion Fodder:

  • What assumptions/predictions did you make as you read the story?  How did the align with the results?  
  • In what ways does the narrative, and the narrator, attempt to deceive the reader?
  • Does the science fiction story reflect on the lover's lives?  In what ways?
  • How does the story talk about the assumptions and world views we apply to others?
  • Various crimes and accusations are laid at the feet of different characters.  Which are true, how many are convenient targets?
Source: libromancersapprentice.blogspot.com/2017/08/book-review-blind-assassin.html
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text 2017-08-08 03:15
hrm...
The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood,Margaret Atwood

So I feel like there's just too much of an attempt to be clever about the "big secret" of the story.  And the narration and the "ah-ha" moment at points are pretty contrary, yet many of the surprises aren't

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review 2017-08-03 16:17
The Heart Goes Last - Margaret Atwood

Got almost halfway through and quit, stopped just at chapter 7. This is my first Margaret Atwood book and I did enjoy her writing, just not the story. I grew bored and ended up skimming in the end, even when I came across Jocelyns' plan. I just didn't care. 

 

Admittedly, it is a bit my fault. The whole idea of Positron/Consilience and this apocalypse-esque landscape drew me in and I was just so gosh darn excited to swan dive in. So excited, in fact, that I hadn't read the summary in the book cover far enough to see that it's about infidelity. 

 

See, I don't particularly enjoy stories about philandering spouses all that much, even when a unnecessarily convoluted plan by a character in the novel and the novel itself hinges on it. Which I give hearty kudos to Ms. Atwood. I can and do admire that piece of artistic craft even though I did not like nor enjoy it.

 

I feel as though I've been ambushed. My trust fall turned into a twenty car pile up on the interstate during rush hour due to my own willful ignorance. Go me. Lesson learned: don't text and drive.

 

While it did affect my experience with the book to a degree, I can't say for sure whether I would've finished it even if I was wise enough to read the summary in its entirety. I was disappointed when I realized the more sci-fi elements, the elements that drew me in, we're regulated to window dressings a.k.a white noise a.k.a. stock background for a family portrait a.k.a. you get my meaning. At least to where I stopped.

 

It's not a terrible book. It's lovely writing. I found the world interesting and the characters had a solid level of substance and believability to them, even though I didn't care for them. Hence the three stars.

 

It's just not my cup of tea. But I hope others have better luck. 

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